Whois


The InterNIC's Whois service provides a way of finding e-mail addresses, postal addresses and telephone numbers of those who have registered "objects" with the InterNIC. Using Whois, you can also determine whether the domain name you desire is already in use; you can learn who administers a particular site; and you can view a list of a site's name servers.

Whois involves an online database populated with information about networks, networking organizations, domains, sites, and the contacts associated with them. This database is known as the InterNIC database. The names of the administrative and technical contacts for registered domains are automatically entered into the database when domain or IP number applications are processed by the InterNIC. Each entry of the database has a handle (a unique identifier), a name, a record type, and various other fields depending on the type of record.

Users can query a Whois server to access this information through a local Whois client, an interactive telnet session, or e-mail.

For more information, consult RFC 1400 - Transition and Modernization of the Internet Registration Service, which documents the Whois service.

Methods of using Whois are detailed below. The use of italics indicates an optional parameter.


Using a local client

Unix computers have a native whois command. The format is:

whois -h site-name identifier

This will search the database on the specified site for an entry which contains identifier, where:

site-name
is the domain address of the site which hosts the database you want to query (e.g. whois.internic.net).

identifier
is a name (person, host, domain or network), an IP number or a handle.

Special characters may be used in identifier to specify the search:
. before identifier will cause a name-only search.
! before identifier will cause a handle-only search.
... or . after identifier will cause a partial search: everything starting with identifier will match.
@in identifier will cause a search on the e-mail addresses.
*before identifier will return the entire membership list of the entry that matches identifier (e.g. a site and its registered users).
%before identifier will return only the membership list of the entry that matches identifier (e.g. the registered users of a site).
The special characters may be used together.


Using telnet

Whois databases may or may not allow telnet access; the InterNIC database does, and the functions shown below are available there. At the login prompt, enter whois.

In the following descriptions, CAPITAL letters indicate acceptable abbreviation; the use of italics indicates an optional parameter.

WHOISinvokes the information retrieval program.
?displays a short on-line help message.
HElpaccesses the full on-line help.
Q, QUIT, RETURN key exits WHOIS
keyword identifier searches the database for an entry that contains identifier. The default action is to do a broad search, looking for matches in many fields: handle, name, nicknames, hostname, IP number, etc, and finding all record types. keyword may be used to narrow the search to a specific record type.

keyword may be any of these:
PErsonlimits the search to persons.
DOmainlimits the search to domains (e.g. DO EARN.NET).
HOstlimits the search to hosts (e.g. HO PRINCETON).
NEtworklimits the search to networks (e.g. NE EBONE).
Organizationlimits the search to organizations (e.g. O CREN).
NAmesame as leading '.' in identifier.
HAndlesame as '!' in identifier.
PArtialsame as trailing '.' in identifier.
Mailboxsame as '@' in identifier.
EXPandsame as '*' in identifier.
SUBdisplaysame as '%' in identifier.
Full or =shows detailed display for each match.
SUMmary or $shows summary always, even if just one match.

Special characters may be used in identifier to specify the search:
.before identifier will cause a name-only search.
!before identifier will cause a handle-only search.
... or .after identifier will cause a partial search: everything starting with identifier will match.
@in identifier will cause a search on the e-mail addresses.
*before identifier will return the entire membership list of the entry that match identifier (e.g. a site and its registered users).
%before identifier will return only the membership list of the entry that matches identifier (e.g. the registered users of a site).
~before identifier will return the entries that match identifier only, not a complete membership list.

The special characters may be used together.


Using electronic mail

Requests can be sent via electronic mail to the database maintained at the InterNIC; messages should be sent to mailserv@internic.net. The commands are normally sent in the Subject: field, with the body part of the mail being ignored. If the Subject: line is empty, the first line of the body part of the message is interpreted as a WHOIS command. Requests are processed automatically once a day.

This electronic mail interface recognizes all the commands described in Using Telnet. Requests should be prefixed with the word WHOIS.


Examples

If you are using a local client, and enter the command:
 whois DO internic                      
 
or if you e-mail the command:
whois DO NSF
you will get the following results:
Whois: DO nsf
NSF International (NSFI-DOM)                                          NSFI.COM
NSF Network Service Center (NNSC) (NSF2-DOM)                           NSF.NET
Nancy's Specialty Foods (NSF3-DOM)                                     NSF.COM
National Science Foundation (NSF-DOM)                                  NSF.GOV
To obtain detailed information on the last item, enter or send the command:
whois NSF-DOM
and you will get the following result:
Whois: DO NSF-DOM
National Science Foundation (NSF-DOM)
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
	  
Domain Name: NSF.GOV
		 
Administrative Contact:
Roth, Quilla  (QR)  QROTH@NSF.GOV
703) 306-1153
Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
McEwen, Don  (DM1074)  dmcewen@NSF.GOV
(703) 306-1153x4695 ext. 4695 (FAX) (703) 306-0234
									   
Record last updated on 21-Oct-95.
Record created on 27-Oct-86.
											 
Domain servers in listed order:
Y.NSF.GOV                    128.150.1.1
BACON.FINANCENET.GOV         128.150.195.88
For a partial search on an email address, enter:
whois postel@is. 
 
and you will get the following result:
Whois: postel@is.
Postel, Jon (JBP)               POSTEL@ISI.EDU
University of Southern California
Information Sciences Institute
4676 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 822-1511

Record last updated on 05-Mar-93.
 

Search for domain names beginning with cont:

whois DO cont.
and you will receive the following:
Whois: DO cont.
Adam J. Conti, Esq. (CONTI-DOM)                                      CONTI.COM
Airflight Ltd. (CONTINENTALAIRLINES-DOM)               CONTINENTALAIRLINES.COM
Allan Simmelly (CONTACT-LENS-SOURCE-DOM)               CONTACT-LENS-SOURCE.COM
Andrew Louder (CONTRACTOR-DOM)                                  CONTRACTOR.COM
Arrick Publishing (CONTROLLER-DOM)                              CONTROLLER.COM
There are 297 more matches.  Show them? 
TOP Home Page